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Wolfire Games antitrust lawsuit against Valve has been dismissed

A U.S. District Judge said Wolfire "does not articulate sufficient facts to plausibly allege an antitrust injury."

Chris Kerr

November 22, 2021

1 Min Read

Wolfire Games antitrust lawsuit against Valve has been dismissed by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour.

The Overgrowth developer filed the suit in April this year after claiming the "extraordinarily high cut" of revenue Valve takes from Steam developers gave the company an "unassailable" monopoly on PC game distribution.

Wolfire added that Valve uses its market dominance to extract high fees from developers, specifically taking issue with Steam's once-standard 30 percent store fees, and claimed the company has "illegally monopolised the market for PC game distribution."

Valve eventually filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and said its 30 percent sales cut accurately represents the services it provides developers.

Now, as highlighted by PC Gamer, District Judge John C. Coughenour has sided with Valve and said Wolfire "does not articulate sufficient facts to plausibly allege an antitrust injury."

In a document uploaded to Court Listener, Coughenour said Wolfire failed to prove that Valve's fees are "supracompetitive," explaining the company "has always charged the same fee to game publishers -- 30 percent -- [...] yet did not become 'dominant' in the market until 2013."

Coughenour also noted that while some other storefronts have undercut Steam in that regard, they have yet to wrestle away dominance from Valve, suggesting its fee "is commensurate with the Steam Platform's value to game publishers."

As a result, Wolfire's case has been dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend, meaning the company is still able to file a second amended complaint -- addressing those issues (and others) highlighted by the judge -- within 30 days.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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